A year ago, four busy friends who have hiked thousands of miles across the country -- sometimes together -- decided they didn't see each other enough.
They decided to meet once a month in Mike "D-Low" DiLorenzo's basement in Boulder and teach themselves how to record and produce a podcast about all things hiking. That monthly gathering of friends turned into The Trail Show, which celebrated one year of talking trail last month.
The story of their friendship is a complicated one. Felicia "The Princess of Darkness" Hermosillo and Lawton "Disco" Grinter, who live in Wheat Ridge, met through a mutual long-distance hiking friend. DiLorenzo picked the two of them up while they were hitchhiking into town off the Continental Divide. DiLorenzo met Paul "Mags" Magnanti, who lives in Boulder, on the Pacific Crest Trail, and all four of them ended up settling down along the Front Range.
They've all completed a "triple crown" -- they've walked the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail.
Lawton, who listened to podcasts while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, said he wondered why no one was creating a variety-show style podcast about hiking. It's a very niche group of people, but there are avid long-distance and casual hikers who would listen, he said.
Lawton taught himself how to record and produce audio for iTunes, and the four of them set to work to capture the true essence of what hikers talk about when they get together.
"When we get together, we usually crack a couple of beers and talk trail," he said. "The idea was let's capture that and make a radio show out of it, why not?"
As the only female on the show, Hermosillo hosts the "ask a she-hiker" segment of the show. The Trail Show hosts also review local beers, pick a trail of the month, talk about tips and trail news and discuss any hikes the four of them have been on recently.
Gone are the days of hiking six months out of the year when they were younger. Now, they're all balancing families with full-time jobs and rarely have time to hike anymore. In some ways, they re-live the glory days while making the podcast.
Hermosillo hiked the Appalachian Trail originally as a way to transition between jobs. She worked as an engineer, but wasn't happy with her career, so she quit. In the meantime, she decided to hike thousands of miles. That first hike, she said, was definitely an attempt to "find herself," so to speak, but every trip after that has been because she enjoys putting one foot in front of the other so much.
"There's unquantifiable psychological benefit about forward progress every single day," she said of hiking. "That's something most of us lack every day in our lives. We're saving for retirement, but we're still going to the same job every day. There's definitely something different about walking 20 to 25 miles a day and saying I camped behind those mountains last night and today I'm here."
Magnanti said he believes thru-hiking, which is hiker speak for walking the entire length of a long trail in one push, is the last great adventure humans can experience today. The idea that an individual can walk from one side of the country to the other with their own strength is incredible, he said.
For DiLorenzo, carrying everything he needs on his back reminds him to simplify his life, which is why he started hiking years ago.
The various joys of hiking are what the four Trail Show hosts hope to convey to their listeners every month, he said.
"You can't be as free as you can when everything you need to survive is in your pack," he said. "It's freedom that you will never have when mowing your lawn."
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.